Careers at ATB

Photo: Manuel Gutjahr

Getting prepared

... before leaving home

It is important to start familiarizing yourself with some organizational matters before coming to Germany. 

Here are some aspects to be taken into consideration.
For more information see the Welcome package for Doctoral researchers provided by the Leibniz PhD Network.


Apply for a visa as soon as possible at the German Embassy in your country. Please check the list of documents required for a student visa application with your local German Embassy.

Important: At the embassy, make sure you request certified copies of your undergrad degree and master’s degree and maybe even your birth certificate.
It is also helpful to translate them into English if you do not have an international version.

Non-EU researchers will likely be required to have provisional health insurancein order to obtain a visa. In many cases, you will also be asked to register for permanent health insurance in Germany within 90 days of obtaining a visa.


ATB has a guest house with a limited number of rooms that may be available for rent in the initial months.
Asking colleagues via your institute’s mailing list is another way of finding short-term accommodation.
Airbnb is usually not the most affordable option for short-term rental in Germany, but students often use local Facebook pages to rent out their own rooms when they travel or leave for the holidays (search for e.g. ‘WG & Wohnung + your city + gesucht’).
Otherwise, you can use search engines like  or to look for accommodation.

To rent an apartment you will usually have to provide:

  1. Proof of income, usually in the form of an Einkommensnachweis or a Bürgschaft
    The Einkommensnachweis is a monthly income statement. You can print it out directly from your bank’s online service. If you have not been paid yet, a copy of your employment contract is usually sufficient. Talking to your landlord and explaining that you are about to start your 'Doktor' position might help convince them to wait a little while for your Einkommensnachweis.
    The Bürgschaft is a guarantee signed by someone with a steady income (e.g. your parents), committing to cover your rent in the event that you are unable to do so.
  2. Schufa credit report
    Schufa is a private company which collects credit information. If this company has no negative information on you, they will issue a positive credit report. For more info:
  3. Mietschuldenfreiheitsbestätigung
    This is a document proving that you do not owe any rent arrears. Before moving out of your previous flat, prepare a letter stating that you have paid all your rent and have it signed by your landlord.

Useful information on studying in Germany

  4. Also the university you enroll at likely has a webpage specifically for your city


See also: What to consider upon arriving in Germany ...